Another year has gone since my last “Life Update,” and given that I’ve been publishing these posts for the past two (now three) years, I guess it’s now a tradition to post my “Life Updates” each December. I find December is a good time to reflect on the year that passed, and to look ahead to what will be in store for the following year. That said, here is what I’ve been up to in 2021…

To be honest, not a lot has changed since my last “Life Update” last year: I’m still at my government job, and I didn’t travel internationally. However, it was the little things that happened this past year which did change, and fortunately, for the good:

For one thing, I passed my one-year probation at work! I’d started this position last summer, and I reached my one year this August. There wasn’t any fanfare when I passed– it was just like any other normal day at the office, although I did celebrate with my family later that weekend with a nice dinner out. I’m very happy that I’m now a permanent employee, and that I finally have a good career. While this hadn’t been what I’d envisioned for myself, I’m content with where I’ve ended up in my now-late twenties, and I plan to work at this position for at least another couple of years (i.e. three years, at minimum) before finding other opportunities within the government.

I’ve alluded to this before in my previous “Life Update” post, but I’m incredibly blessed that I’ve managed to acquire a career. Especially since finishing undergrad over six years ago and spending five years afterwards at temporary positions, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to find anything until my thirties. For the longest time, I struggled to find work stability, having freelanced and taught English in my early to mid-twenties. Not to say that I hated those jobs– I was fine with them, but I knew they weren’t sustainable and I just couldn’t see myself doing them in the long term. I am grateful for the opportunities that came from those jobs, e.g. travel, friends, *some* savings, but I knew that I needed to find something steadier to support myself financially.

Do I miss France? Yes, I still do. But it doesn’t hurt as much anymore. It had hurt a lot when I first left over two years ago, mainly because I didn’t want to. I wanted to stay and continue teaching, even though I knew I didn’t love it– I wanted to stay, because I still wanted to travel. And to be honest, I wanted to stay, because I didn’t want to face the reality of taking responsibility for myself, i.e. my financial future. It was a very selfish mentality I had, and that was why I was so bitter and miserable for the first six months upon returning. In retrospect, I’m very glad that I was forced to return home to the US, because it was a wake-up call for me to find a career and become a “real” adult.

The pandemic gave me a different perspective on France (and expat life, in general). Prior to COVID-19 last March, I still wanted to return abroad– I even had a teaching offer in China. Morbid as it sounds, I’m thankful that the pandemic happened, because I didn’t go to China (I’d turned down the offer three months before hell broke loose), and I also wasn’t stranded overseas where it would’ve been difficult to return home– the worst that happened was that I was laid off from my then-part time job, but at least I was at home with family who could support me until things subsided. So many bullets dodged!

I still get pangs of nostalgia and FOMO whenever I see my expat friends still enjoying their lives in France, but I tell myself that that’s what they want for themselves, but it’s not necessarily what I want for myself. I like France, but after living there four years, I realize it’s not a place that I’d like to live long-term. Because I know how hard it is to find a career there as a foreigner. From what I’ve seen, the options for work as a non-citizen are extremely limited: teaching English or being an independent contractor (e.g. artist, entrepreneur, entertainer). Or remote working, but that requires being with an international company. Or you could go back to school as a student. None of which I want. Plus, the paperwork of immigration and visas is a massive headache– at least for four, five years…

Would I return to France? Absolutely. But not to live– to visit. At the most, I’d divide my time between the US and France, spending maybe half a year in each after retirement…and ideally at a second home I purchase abroad. I know I’m dreaming, but again, this is to say that I’d only stay in France temporarily at this point in my life. I also don’t intend to visit France until at least 2023, as I envision we’ll still be facing ramifications from what COVID-19 has done, and I’d rather not go when nationalistic/xenophobic tensions are rising…

Finally, do I have any future travels planned? Now that it appears that much of the Western world is out of lockdown (although I have mixed feelings about this), countries are opening up to tourism again. I actually spent this past year traveling again, although all trips have been domestic. In October, I had my first big trip since 2019: it was a week-long road trip to the nearby US states and I had an incredible time exploring the natural beauty that my home country has to offer. I will be publishing these adventures next year, so look out for them!

20211011_111524Horseshoe Bend from my road trip (October 2021)

…but back to future travels: yes, I have! Although this is all very tentative, my family and I made our reservations to go somewhere internationally next year: I won’t say where, but it’ll definitely be the grandest trip that I’ve ever taken, and I’m super excited! Fingers crossed that the situation continues to improve, and I’ll be sure to update you once it happens.

So there you have it: my 2021 year in a nutshell. Overall, I’d have to say that it was a calm year, as I mainly just worked. But I did get to enjoy life a bit more, with lockdown restrictions lifting, getting fully vaccinated, and seeing my friends in-person again. I also got to hike more, explore southern California, and travel a bit from the road trip. I’m more-or-less settled into the everyday-ness of adulthood. Now, I try to find the small pleasures in life, from trying new restaurants to finding new places in my hometown to check out. I’m trying my best to live more presently, to use less social media, and pursue my passions. I still keep up my French, I blog regularly, and I continue to make crafts and bake in my spare time. We’ll have to see what happens in the upcoming year, but I’m sure that whatever happens, I will handle it and turn it into a fortuitous and fulfilling experience.

Thanks for reading, folks! I hope you have a wonderful day. πŸ™‚

— Rebecca

Advertisement

57 thoughts on “Life Update #15: Fully-Employed, Do I Miss France, Future Travel Plans?

  1. Congratulations on your job being made permanent and that you feel more settled back in California now. COVID restrictions have at least given us the opportunity to take more staycations and to explore places nearer home. Although not as exotic, these trips often turnout to be just as satisfying as long haul. Thanks for sharing your annual update Rebecca I enjoyed reading it and here’s to a good 2022.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Marion! I appreciate your kind words. While it’s a bummer that COVID-19/lockdown measures have limited travel to as small as one’s own neighborhood, I agree that sometimes, even the backyard has some wonderful hidden gems to discover. I’ve seen a lot more of Los Angeles these past almost two years than any previous ones, and doing so has made me love my hometown even more. But as restrictions continue to *hopefully* lift, I hope we can expand our travels further out come 2022. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it’s been a solid year, at least the most stable I’ve had in a long time. I’m very blessed to have gotten this career job, and I’m making sure to hold on to it for as long as I can (until the next opportunity arises)!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, the recent news have reported a new variant (Omicron, anyone?), but here’s hoping that, like the Delta variant, it subsides as soon as it began. We’ll just have to continue to take it one day at a time!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am glad to hear your job position is now permanent as there is nothing better than having long-term job security plus you will have more opportunities to advance your career in a permanent position. I hope you’ll get to go on an international trip next year as planned, it would be amazing to finally have the freedom to explore the world and talk about the pandemic crises in the past tense. Thanks for sharing and have a nice day πŸ™‚ Aiva

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, absolutely! I’m especially happy to finally have job security, after spending the past couple of years struggling. I still have a full year to go before my big international trip, and I’m aware that so many things could happen along the way, but here’s hoping that I’ll still be able to go (and safely so)! Have a wonderful day, too, Aiva. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I am happy that through 2021 you have entered a more balanced and secure life. I understand the heartbreak of leaving a country after living there for several years, it has happened to me several times, not to mention alternating between Canada and France. I lived for a long time with the illusion that life was waiting for me in the other place. In reality everything changed without me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I appreciate your sentiment! Living in a different country and getting used to it after several years can make the move back home all the more devastating. I think it’s important not to have expectations whether you move to or back somewhere, to understand that there are some instances you cannot control and, really, you’ll just have to go with the flow. Eventually, you’ll end up exactly where you need to be!

      Like

    1. Haha, yes. A mystery…I don’t believe I’ll be visiting France anytime soon (at the earliest 2023), but we’ll have to see where my job and circumstances take me!

      Like

  4. Thanks for this year end summary. That’s a great tradition. I’m happy for you that you have a stable job and are saving for future travels. The photo above is fantastic. I look forward to seeing more and finding out where you’ll travel next year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely! I’m especially excited to be building my savings account, considering that I’d never really budgeted prior (i.e. I’d always saved, but never used it for investments or anything). I’m gradually learning the art of finance, and it’s proven fascinating! I’ll be recounting my time in Horseshoe Bend and my overall October 2021 road trip later next year, so stay tuned!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. So lovely to read an update of where you’re at, Rebecca. It sounds like you made strides in your career and congratulations on your permanent position. It’s funny how the path you think isn’t for you turns out to be the path that you actually needed – and you come to embrace. It did sound like you dodged a bullet turning down the teaching offer in China.

    Like you, I wished I was elsewhere during the pandemic, in particular Singapore where I wanted to spend some extended time visiting. I see people who moved back and enjoying themselves there and in other places and yes, it’s hard. But at the same time, I tell myself it’s not meant to be right now. And I wouldn’t want to get sick while overseas – too much hassle, too much bills to rack up, plus all the documentation and planning ahead required. Give it another year and there’ll probably be more stable international travel.

    Hope you get to go on your trip next year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Couldn’t have said it better, Mabel! I would’ve never guessed that I would end up in a government job, but I’m content with it, in any case. Singapore has been on my bucket list for years (I especially want to go, because of Crazy Rich Asians), and let’s hope that international travel restrictions will continue to lift as the world tries to hamper the dreaded COVID-19!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. A solid, stable, grounded year that gave you professional and financial growth sounds like an incredible outcome in this chaotic topsy-turvy year. Hopefully you can build on this in 2022 and with an exciting new travel project to boot. Like you, I’ll also be doing my year in review, but towards the end of the month, or perhaps early January. I think it’s a good practice to look back and take stock on the year that was. Take care Rebecca.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, thank you! I’m very happy (and relieved) that 2021 has been a calm year, especially after years of instability and uncertainty preceding that. My “Year in Review” post will be up in early January, and I look forward to reading yours, too! Have a wonderful holiday season, Leighton. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Congratulations on your permanent role, that’s amazing news and I’m glad you’re content in the role. I spent a lot of my early 20s in Germany, living my best life, but ultimately had to accept financial responsibility for myself – part of me still misses the old days, but also the new days mean a lot of other good things πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sounds like I’m not alone with the former expat life! I know a handful of people who’ve lived abroad several years before returning to their home country, due to, as you wrote, “financial responsibility.” I mean, you could continue to have fun and not accept financial responsibility, but it’ll catch up to you later on when you’re not as physically-able and have no savings to live off of. That was my fear, so despite not being abroad anymore, I’m glad I have steady income and savings for security!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was EXACTLY the same. And sometimes I now get so bored in my job, dream of the freedom sort of thing…but then I have money to travel still and it’s just getting the right balance between work and travel/sensible choices and freedom. It’s amazing to have that financial independence and a job you’re enjoying though, it’s definitely something to be proud of πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  8. i too have plans, but i feel to write about them on the blog is just asking for something to stop them! in fact i have tickets to somewhere on Boxing Day and just today it looks like they are already in major doubt as they are to another state who has got thingy about Omicron and may shut their borders again. they just opened on the 23rd of nov! anyways, ultimately I DO want to live overseas. thats 10 years plus away. im thinking in terms of retirement! I believe at 60 i can access my super. anyways, we will see, thats 14 years away. But i am unhappy here in terms of the political climate at the moment theres so much angst and anger. its not a great environment to be honest. And to think that it’s easier to go to London from Melbourne than Brisbane, Hobart or Perth. It’s ridiculous.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I understand your frustrations over the pandemic; we’re all feeling the same sentiment. The Omicron variant is putting a wrench once again in people’s travel plans, and I hope that it’ll be like the Delta variant in that it disappears as soon as it came. Where would you choose to live for retirement? I personally would choose to divide my time between France and the US, just because the former has a special place in my heart. I hope Australia gets through all of this mess in terms of COVID-19 (and the world, overall)!

      Like

  9. Thank you Rebecca, for sharing what life has been like for you this past year, and congratulations on achieving job stability, although it may not be very glamorous, it pays off in the long run! I would love to go and teach in France myself. I am wondering what the requirements are? I am not fluent in French, but would be motivated to learn if it meant that I could live there:)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the kind words! You can teach in France: I started off working with TAPIF (in North America), and requirements are to have a Bachelor’s degree and know at least a B1 level of French (although I know of people who got in and had less than that level, so there are always exceptions). Teaching experience is a plus, but not necessary. Good luck!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. 2021 certainly went by quickly! It feels as if time speeds up as you get older, but it gives you all the more reason to cherish it even more. Thanks for reading, and I’ll keep you updated about the big trip in 2022!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. These are nice yearly wrap ups to look back on one day. I can’t believe your probation period was 1 year- is this common in the US? Congratulations on going permanent and having a a stable job that you were after. I giggled abit at the “real” adult comment as it’s something I’m always trying to escape from haha! I guess it’s always nice to establish your skill set so you have more options in the future whichever path you decide to go down.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Probationary period for many jobs in the US are usually only three months, but I work in the government, so the period is six months to a year. Haha, I mean, I don’t think anyone wants to have the responsibilities of an adult, but that’s life, so we’ll need to face them sooner than later!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I mean, I haven’t fully accepted it. Nor I ever will. But nowadays, to have fun often requires money (travel, food, etc). Money doesn’t grow from trees, so it’s sort of obligatory to need to take on adult responsibilities in order to make the fun times happen!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. It’s so good to find something you feel worthwhile doing and feel comfortable that you have a permanent place there. We do spent a large part of our life at work, right? Here’s hoping we can all travel again someday. I’m still dreaming…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I find it unfortunate that we spend more time at work than with our family, and I hope to find a better work-life balance as I continue with this position. Given the Omicron variant isn’t helping world travel, we’ll have to keep our fingers crossed that it subsides as soon as it started, so that 2022 can be a prosperous year of travel…

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Well done on making the work milestone. You’ve got me all curious now about where you’ll be going abroad. Hopefully it’ll be less restricted and less stressful than what we’ve been experiencing since Thanksgiving in planning to get over to England. It’s still on the books, but several things could derail it at the last minute. Also looking forward to reading your road trip posts. You live in such a great area of the country – all the stuff I love is (relatively) close to you. Have a great Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I won’t say exactly where I’m heading in 2022, but I will say that it’ll be the grandest trip I’ve ever taken in my life. After all, I have to make up for the international trips I haven’t done since 2019! My road trip posts will be up starting next October, so look out for them then! Have a wonderful (and safe) holiday season with your loved ones. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  13. It was really nice to read your little life update! First of all, congrats for the permanent position and one year at your job! 😊 I also completely understand what you say about France, and I’m sure you’ll be able to go back one day (and maybe do half-half with the US)! I can’t wait to read about your grand adventure with your family in 2022! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Juliette! Retirement is decades away, so we’ll see what (and where) I decide on my plans to settle: France still remains an option! Here’s hoping that our travel plans will come to fruition in 2022!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s